April 2020 Top Talk

The Portland Bicycling Club has suspended all club rides until the lifting of Governor Brown’s shelter-in-place order. I wish I could tell you that cancellation of rides is just a crazy April Fool’s joke, but sadly it is not. Looking at a calendar filled with canceled rides may leave you discouraged and feeling bleak, but we are not alone. There are other casualties to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Salem Bicycle Club has canceled the 2020 Monster Cookie ride. USA Cycling has cancelled all scheduled races, events, group rides, and group meetings through May 3. Vancouver and Cascade Bicycle Clubs have suspended all club rides. Cycle Oregon’s Gravel ride, originally scheduled for mid-May, has been moved to October.

What do we do? My suggestion is to get creative during this time of sequestration and learn something new. That could mean teaching yourself a musical instrument, taking online courses, or learning to paint; but maybe it is time for you (yes you!) to become a ride leader. “What?” you ask! How is that possible? I challenge you to use some of your newly found indoor time to create a single original ride for the club. Peruse and learn to use Ride with GPS. Immerse yourself inside PBOT’s interactive street map. Discover some of the newer or proposed greenways at Portland Greenways, old, new and proposed. Is there some place or some theme you want to explore (art, new parks, architecture, gardens, events)? Check them out virtually using Google maps online. Create a unique ride or find a ride that we haven’t been doing (or perhaps “borrow” a ride from another club). Or mix it up a bit – take two routine rides and combine them into one to make a figure eight! Once rides are up and running again, introduce the club to your find or your creation. If you are not currently a ride leader, consider partnering with someone who is. Having two or even three people ‘lead’ a ride is something ride leaders have suggested can be safer, takes the pressure off the one, and is more interesting. It means it is easier to work with different paces within a group and to offer a sweep to keep from dropping the slowest riders. Or, while we wait for the ‘all clear,’ conjure up a virtual ride to share with us, similar to the one offered by Vancouver Bicycle Club, VBC’s virtual ride, using the Zwift Cycling indoors app.

How do you stay fit and healthy during this crisis? That is a challenge. Here are some suggestions, tips, and resources: Bicycling.com: Self-care during Coronavirus;

Bicycle-guider.com: cycling during coronavirus. If you have eight minutes to spare (and who doesn’t right now), the Global Cycling Network is addressing this with their amusing March 20 video that compares different types of indoor trainers and introduces you to their library of online video work outs at https://www.globalcyclingnetwork.com/. What am I doing? Well, aside from working around the yard, I have taken to walking. It will not work the muscles I need for cycling, is a lot slower, and not nearly as much fun, but it is a cheap, low-risk, outdoor activity that will help maintain muscle strength and improve bone density.

You may be at risk of becoming infected while riding in a group. You may be at risk of spreading infection to vulnerable people if you are an asymptomatic carrier. But that’s not all. You may be at risk of an accident while cycling, and an emergency room visit will add strain to hospital resources already stretched to their limit and will increase the risk of becoming infected. If over 60, the sequela to infection is potentially severe and long lasting. Therefore, in the meantime, stay alert if riding solo, pay attention to CDC and Oregon.gov updates, and continue to monitor our website for re-activation of our canceled rides.

Be safe! Stay well! You are not just members; you are our friends.

Pat McManus, President